You know something is wrong with you, but it takes a medical doctor to determine the cause of your symptoms. A headache could be a warning sign of a brain tumor, high blood pressure or a stroke. It could also just be a sign of dehydration.
You rely on doctors to diagnose you quickly and help you get treatment for any medical conditions affecting your health. Unfortunately, doctors often make mistakes when they diagnose patients, which can lead to poor outcomes. When are medical mistakes in the diagnostic process particularly troublesome?
1. When someone has a progressive condition
Some medical issues will go away on their own even without treatment. Others require aggressive intervention for a positive outcome. If you have a condition like cancer that will only spread throughout more of your body and become more aggressive without treatment, a delay in diagnosis because of a doctor’s mistake could affect how long you live or how well you respond to treatment.
2. When someone receives the wrong care
If a doctor misdiagnosis someone, they may recommend treatments for their incorrect diagnosis. A patient could have a negative reaction to that treatment, ranging from the worsening of their underlying medical condition to an allergic reaction to a drug.
3. When a patient goes without care at all
Sometimes, patients keep pushing after their doctor ignores or misdiagnoses their symptoms. Others just give up.
If your loved one experienced the inaccurate diagnosis of their cancer, they might not have gone back for care at all. It may only be after an autopsy that you realize what caused the symptoms that medical professionals ignored.
Those impacted by diagnostic failures may need to make an insurance claim or file a civil lawsuit against the doctor or facility involved with the inadequate care. Realizing the doctor made a diagnostic mistake can be the first step toward a medical malpractice claim.